Being a founder of a young company is exciting and challenging under normal circumstances. Yet when you factor in the current world health situation, it has the potential to be unsettling. As we begin to move out of our quarantined work environments and get back to some level of normalcy as employers, it is important to consider these 10 factors as we move ahead.
1. Accept that hiring and on-boarding will be done remotely. There is a new world of remote interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding that needs to be embraced. Be up to date on all the video conferencing technology tools. Since remote interviewing has been the only way of hiring for the last three months, it is important to implement standards, define structure and put best practices in place for you and your team.
2. Whenever possible, focus on your current staff and make sure they are as content as possible. Being physically removed from an office setting for the last three months has created a new dynamic for you and your team. Your current employees can be your best advocates and should be the ones who know, understand, and appreciate your company and your culture the best. Be mindful of any changes in their behavior or needs/interests to monitor, to assure their happiness.
3. Recognize that remote employees are capable of functioning successfully. We have seen the positive and negatives of remote working. Carefully determine what is working for your remote employees and accentuate the positive. Eliminate as much of the negative as possible. Talk to your team and to your colleagues and learn from each other on how to make remote work the most successful remote work possible for you and your company
4. Embrace the gig society. Not all jobs need to be full time salaried employees. It is estimated that 43% of US workers will be a participating in the gig economy in 2020. With more than 90% of workers open to freelancing or independent contracting work, recognize that there are positive alternatives for you and your company when evaluating your hiring strategies.
5. When people do get back to the office, be open to flexible work hours. The 9am-5pm work hour standard has been in place for the last 100 years. Recognize that people coming back to work are going to demand social distancing to feel comfortable in the work setting. Added to that, if they are also dealing with public transportation, the prospect of just getting to the office can be a potential health hazard. Evaluate office hours and consider the idea of having employees arrive to the office in staggered times.
6. Build a pipeline of talent, as we are unsure of what lies ahead. Generate conversations with potential employees and learn what sort of talent is currently in the market. There is still demand for STEM workers and specifically a high demand for engineers, data analysts and software developers. You may not need to hire them now, yet you want to understand their concerns and interests from a candidate’s point of view. Get to know these people and have meaningful conversations to learn about their skills and what they could possibly offer your company.
7. Leverage your external relationships. Now is the time to continue learning and growing from your work colleagues. Since we are all heading into uncharted territory, create conversations to learn and educate. Network with your peers and have substantial and meaningful discussions to better understand what is working and not working for them currently.
8. Join groups, chats, and webinars. This is a great way to learn and better understand how others are managing our current situation. Many of the webinars presently available have previously cost money and/or required membership when they were “live”. Currently, there are many webinars and online training classes that are available to you without a price tag. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and expand your knowledge.
9. Recognize and adapt your communication style to your customers and to your employees. Be sensitive to how they want to communicate yet think of new ways to drive communication and engagement with your brand. Think of possible adapted written communication, website updates and informational webinars that you could implement, to successfully engage with your customers.
10. Look at expenses but do not be afraid to invest. Be mindful that there may be uncertain times ahead. You want to move your products ahead , yet not overspend unwisely. Consider new and various ways to invest or reposition your product, as customers may perceive your company and brand differently. Now more than ever, you want to listen to your customers.
To be successful, technology companies must to be agile and nimble within the markets they serve. As quarantine restrictions are loosened and as we move forward in our businesses, it’s essential that we remain agile and nimble, since now more than ever, some uncertainty remains. Thinking expansively, being open to the unknown, learning and remaining open-minded to the many exciting options that lie ahead, will enhance our ability to be successful.
Article contributed by Don Leon, Managing Partner of Donald Leon Search, has been recruiting and involved in executive search for twenty years. Having worked in New York City for a small boutique firm as well as a Top Ten global firm, Don has partnered closely with digital technology, data and content companies for most of his career. He is actively involved in representing and recruiting for a variety of technology verticals and founded his own executive search firm four years ago. Don maintains his offices in Monmouth County, New Jersey, where he currently resides.